Over the weekend I shared on Instagram that I was deeming Saturday a “no gossip day.” I woke up Saturday morning in our camper, filled my cup with coffee and sat in a cozy spot with fuzzy blankets all around.
As I sat there having quiet time my heart was overcome with thoughts about how destructive gossip is. I wanted to share those thoughts with all of you so I drafted up an Instagram post (@paigeschmidt). Turns out, these thoughts about gossip resonated for many of you, too!
If you’re looking for freedom in your life, let one thing that you put away TODAY be: GOSSIP.
Gossip feels good for no one. It feels bad for the people hearing it, it feels badly for the person sharing it (ultimately it feels gross, am I right?), and it never makes the person who is the center of conversation (the victim of the gossip) look good.
Here’s the thing… we each have our own perception/understanding/interpretation of others. Everyones perception is different. The way one person perceives someone may not be how you’d perceive them.
When you gossip YOU ARE TAKING CONTROL of what someone else thinks about a person without giving them the chance to have their own experience with that person. Ouch!
I was chatting about this with a friend on Saturday (my deemed “no gossip day”) and we talked about the difference between gossip and simple honest/expressive conversation between a pair of good friends.
Here’s what we decided, and you gals can share what you think, too:
- Gossip is with a group of people and is focused on the (perceived) inadequacies of one person. It tears someone down and/or spreads bad things about them, whether those things are true or untrue.
- Safe conversation that is not gossip is between two trustworthy friends (I hope the friends you share your hearts with are trustworthy) sharing their honest feelings/experiences about a person or situation, without the intent of tearing someone else down.
What do you all think? Do you think there’s a difference? What’s the difference to you?
Next, I want to say that we’re all human. Sometimes, especially in the moment, we believe that gossip will feel good (like a release). If you’re doing it, there’s got to be some way that it’s feeling good for you, right?
- Perhaps you’re partaking in conversation happening around you to fit in and not feel like an outsider
- Perhaps someone has said something bad about you, so you talk badly about them
- Perhaps you just feel wronged by someone and gossiping about them to your friends makes you feel like your friends are on your side
Whatever it is, gossip doesn’t look good on you, or me. Whether it’s about someone you hate, someone that’s wronged you or someone who you think deserves the worst because they’ve given you the worst. It doesn’t look good on us!
Back in 2010 when I began to find a new identity apart from looks/dieting (more of my story here) I can specifically remember putting gossip away, little by little. I began to notice the things that my friends (and myself!) were saying. Yuck, this grossed me out.
I noticed comments like “what is she wearing?” or other pointless and degrading things that so easily fall out of our mouths. Guys, even if we were just watching TV and commenting the negative comments started to feel GROSS. I didn’t want to take part in this sort of talk once I noticed how it sounded.
Instead of letting pointless and rude remarks fall out of my mouth, I began to say things like “she looks so happy!” or “gosh, I love her/his style!” or “she is BEAUTIFUL.” I wanted to encourage THESE types of conversations in my friend groups. And honestly, I think my friends loved it!
Do you want to know what I noticed about the thoughts I had toward MYSELF when I began to turn conversation over to more positive things?
I began to assume that other people were saying nice things about me rather than judging me (no wonder I thought people were picking me apart – that’s what we were doing!). Changing my talk changed my lens. I now aim to find the good in other people.
Sometimes I’d walk around a downtown/busier street just to point out to myself things that I loved and appreciated in other people. Here’s what I found that I truly appreciated in others:
- a smile
- someone who seemed genuine
- a good listener
- someone who looked like they took care of themselves (apart from size/looks)
- a person who looked authentically themselves and comfortable
- hand holding
Instead of gossip, let’s talk great about each other. Let’s lift each other up. Let’s assume the best about others. Let’s share the awesome things that we’re up to, or the things we’d love to be doing.
Let me ask you think: If you were to put away all gossip today, what would you talk about instead?
Right now, think through:
- Who in your life are you proud of?
- Who’s up to something awesome?
- What’s something great that you’re up to, or that you want to do?
- What’s good around you?
- What are you excited for?
Can we agree to put away gossip, at least for a day to see how it feels?
Instead, let’s talk about things like: future trips and travel, our wants, and our desires. Let’s ask each other questions like: “If you weren’t doing your current job, what would be your next dream?” Or, “If you didn’t live here, where else would you live?” Or, “When are you the happiest? What are you doing?” Anything.
Let’s get to know each other more and encourage the GOOD STUFF.
Will you guys share how you feel about gossip with me? We all do it from time to time. How do YOU feel when you gossip? Better? Worse? How do you feel when a friend is gossiping about someone else? What are your thoughts? Share with me in the comments!